He's got the dress on already, and is padding around the bedroom in stockinged feet. There is a card table set up in the corner of the room, a towel spread neatly on it, covered by a collection of makeup that Frannie would envy. There's a mirror, too, with lights around the frame, the kind that Maria uses to put her contacts in. Trust Benny to have the right tools for the job.

He sits in front of the table on one of the folding chairs from the kitchen and switches on the lights around the mirror. He starts with some sort of cream in a jar, scooping it out with a little spoon and rubbing it onto his face with his ring fingers. It's a good thing Fraser doesn't have a heavy beard, Ray thinks; he imagines there's only so much makeup can do when faced with five-o'clock shadow.

He picks up two little tubes and squirts some of each into a saucer, then mixes them together with the tip of his finger. He dabs at the result with a sponge and smears some on the back of his hand, then nods to himself and starts wiping it over his face.

When Ray watched his sisters put on makeup, they always did it quickly, powder grains flying. Ray wonders if it's inexperience that makes Benny so careful, or if it's just his crazy personality.

Probably the personality.

Benny's moved on, now, and is putting on blush, applying it to his cheeks with even strokes. He tilts his head, examining himself in the mirror; he probably wants to make sure it's even. Apparently satisfied, he takes a large brush from a jar on the table and uses it to sweep powder over his face.

He puts the brush down and picks something else up from the table-- Ray isn't sure what it's supposed to do, but it looks vaguely familiar; he thinks that Frannie might have one. It looks like the unholy love child of tweezers and a socket wrench.

Fraser holds the thing up to his eye, and squeezes for a moment. Oh. That's right. Eyelash curler.

God, he's glad he's not a woman.

Fraser does his other eye and stands blinking for a moment, as though trying not to tear up. He picks up another compact, then, and another brush from the jar, and starts putting eyeshadow on.

Ray hadn't thought that Benny was wearing that much makeup when he'd come to the station yesterday, but it seems to be a hell of a lot more complicated than he'd always assumed. Fraser's using about four different colors of eyeshadow, putting them on in some kind of pattern. When he's done with that, he picks up a pencil and lines his eyes, first the bottom, then the top, and then picks up a tube of mascara. Ray wonders if he'll make the face when he puts it on; Frannie and Maria and Angie all do.

He makes the face. It's a memory that Ray will treasure always.

Benny picks up another pencil, a pink one this time, and outlines his lips, then takes another brush from the jar (there have to be thirty brushes in that jar; Ray has no idea how he knows which one he wants) and fills in the outlines with color from another compact. Ray didn't realize lipstick came any other way than in tubes. It must be a pain to put it on this way, with such a little brush, in tiny, precise strokes.

Fraser puts the brush down and tilts his head, clipping on his earrings as he studies his face in the mirror. His eyes look different, bigger or something, and his mouth... you notice it, now. You don't notice guy's mouths. It makes Ray feel funny to look at him.

The wig is sitting to one side of the table, on a little styrofoam head. Creepy. Benny picks it up and puts it on, sliding bobby pins in around the edges to hold it on. Ray remembers when Frannie went to prom with Jerry Delaney in eleventh grade; Ma had used about a million of the things to keep her hair in place. With his real hair covered up, Benny looks a lot less... freaky. More like a woman, less like a man in a dress.

He sits on the edge of the bed and slips the shoes on, fastening the little buttons on the straps with a neat twist of his fingers. He stands, and turns toward the door, starting a little when he notices Ray.

"You done making yourself beautiful, Benny?" Ray holds out the floral scarf he picked up off the kitchen counter, and Benny wraps it around his neck with a little flourish.

"I'm not sure I'd put it quite that way," Benny says, "but I'm certainly ready to go. I apologize for keeping you waiting; I didn't realize you'd arrived."

Ray shrugs. "I don't care. Kind of interesting to watch you put the face on. Unravel the mystery."

"This case is certainly providing many opportunities for enlightenment." Benny looks at Dief, who's curled under the kitchen table, gnawing on the bagel Ray dropped in his bowl on the way in. "We're ready to go," Benny says firmly, and Dief gulps down the rest of his breakfast and gets up, licking cream cheese off his nose.

"You shouldn't encourage him," Benny says. "He'll spoil his digestion, eating all those rich foods."

"Hasn't seemed to hurt him so far." Ray opens the door for Benny and has to fight the urge to usher him out with a hand in the small of his back.

He'll be glad when things get back to normal.


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